DJ Sose is unarguably, one of the most popular talented Disc Jockeys in Nigeria. Often referred to as the Tattoo Face DJ or Nigerian Oyibo DJ, Sose, whose real name is Thomas Amar-Aigbe’s career on the turntable has stood the test of time. In this interview with IFEOMA ONONYE, Sose, who calls himself a proud ‘Esan Boy’ speaks about staying relevant in the entertainment industry as a DJ, the pros and cons that comes with his tattoo and why nothing can make him stop being a DJ
In your past interview, you said you tattooed your face to differentiate you from other DJs or is it just for fashion?
It’s more for branding because at the end of the day, DJs did not initially have branding. We could only recognise one person which was DJ Jimmy Jatt back in those days. But then, afterwards, a bunch of us moved back, like me, DJ Xclusive, DJ Case, DJ Big N, DJ Spinall, DJ Obi.
It was there we thought of branding to be able to differentiate one DJ from another. I came as a Tattoo face DJ; DJ Spinall came as the ‘cap DJ’, DJ Xclusive came as a fine boy DJ, DJ Obi came as the Clean cut with the beard gang, aka Guiness book of world record, ‘longest playing DJ. The central idea was that everybody needs some sorts of identity for people to associate with them.
Some of your fans usually argue if the tattoo is permanent. Is it permanent?
I wake up in the morning and I have it on my face, and when I go to bed, it is still on my face. So, I assume that it is permanent.
Going back memory lane, how did playing songs as a DJ start for you?
How many years now have you been a DJ?
It started off as a hobby in 1998 and then I made it a full-time profession in 2007. So, from 2007 till now, it has been my full-time profession.
Are there unique challenges when you play in Nigeria or play outside Nigeria?
Unique in the sense that every culture is different. I have played in different countries around the world. It is always a breath of fresh air whenever I go to a new location and I play for a different culture and for a different group of people because that is what I love doing.
I love to play music and being able to use music as a form of communication with people, because music is a universal language. At the end of the day, you can understand the beat; you can connect with the lyrics, depending on the person that is able to relate with the music.
For a few of your fans who don’t know, tell us about your Nigerian heritage.
I am half Nigerian. I am from Edo State. I am an Esan boy but unfortunately, I don’t speak Esan because I was born in the South Western part of Nigeria. I was born in Ibadan. I grew up in Ibadan for a bit, then I moved to Lagos. I fly in and out of Nigeria for my work.
What makes Nigerian sound unique as a DJ?
This should be a whole different interview but let’s put it this way. Because of how Nigerians are, we have been looking for different avenues to express ourselves. And we found Afrobeats. This is why Afrobeats is now going global. Not just the entertainment industry but music as a whole and Afrobeat is the movement of everything right now.
That is the uniqueness that people around the world identify us with. They say, oh, this DJ must be Naija guy or this lady must be Naija. Speaking of Afrobeat and Afrobeats, Fuji music is Afrobeat that comes from the origin. Fela Anikulapo Kuti started Afrobeat. We, the younger generation took it and made Afrobeats.
That is why now we have, Afro pop, Afro soul, Afro house, New soul with Afro twist. There are so many genres under the Afrobeats.
In the disc jockey profession, what would you say stands each DJ out?
You al- ways have to find a way to stay relevant which applies to everything in life. Once in a while, I pull back a n d re-access t h e m a r k e t a n d know how best to come back b e t – ter. Many have asked me how I have been able to remain relevant.
The truth is that I am always re-strategising and rebranding. I am always checking myself.
The way Mercedes is always researching the products that customers would love is the same way a DJ is checking the latest sound that move people. In the process, we also look for a way to make our trade easier. If a new technology comes out, we are trying to find out how best the technology can help us deliver in our services.
Has there been anytime you felt you are tired of being a DJ and want to do something else?
No! Never! This is because I didn’t become a DJ because I want money. I didn’t start DJing because of the fame. I became a DJ because I love music and I love entertaining people. The joy I get from being a DJ is when guests say that they had a great time at the event I played. I like hearing things like, the DJ was awesome or the DJ did great.
Has there been anytime the doors were shut just because of your tattoo?
It happens, depending on the mindset of the person. That is why they say, one man’s food is another man’s poison. I don’t expect everybody to appreciate me or accept me. At the end of the day, you are not paying my bills.
Has it ever affected you negatively?
No, because it’s not supposed to. I am not going to force myself on anyone. It’s either you like me or you don’t.
The same way Mercedes Benz, Coca Cola, Pepsi is not begging people to buy their products but if you constantly see the product, at some point, you may have no choice but to buy it. If you don’t like the product, you drop it but if you like it, you become a fan.